neckromacr New Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 1:04 p.m.

This is part question, part rant.

Last week when the "Epic Snowstorm" was brewing to hit our area our bosses were talking like it was going to be a huge opportunity for sales. Mind you in the Retail Tire biz, winter storms do create a nice boost in sales during a very dry ($ wise) time of the year.

I could practically hear them salivating when the State of Emergency was called in VA before a single flake hit the ground. They instructed us to open 30 minutes early on last Saturday and to anticipate "heavy customer flow"

Obviously the storm hit Saturday like a bitch slap from old man winter. In my store, only my Service Manager showed up because he lives 2 blocks away while every other technician called out due to being burred. I was excused from going in by our Area Director considering my drive to work is 60 miles one way. The "heavy customer flow" was non-existent, not one person even wandered near our store.

The kicker was that to top it all off was that we would later get blamed (every store in the area) for not taking advantage of the situation and making some huge sales boom. Yes, in the middle of a blizzard we were supposed to convince people to venture out and buy tires.

Whats more interesting is that our area encompasses 3 states, DE being one. DE had called a State of Emergency, but those stores remained open. Theoretically if an employee refused to come in because of conditions, could they can him because of it? If said employee did try and make it in and had been stopped by the police for being on the road what recourse would he have for just trying to get to work?

I have a feeling I know the unfortunate answers (Yes find a way to get here or else; Not our fault you were driving during SoE) But I figure someone on here would know better than I.

Twin_Cam Dork
Feb. 10, 2010 1:19 p.m.

If it's illegal to drive and public transportation is not running, how do they expect people to get to work?

Barring walking, which, in a blizzard is almost more dangerous than driving, I don't see how. It's not like the US has a complex, omnipresent subway system like London or something.

If someone did get fired for refusing to come to work (and you didn't work for snow removal or the emergency services sector), I could see them having a pretty strong case for a wrongful termination argument.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 1:25 p.m.

That would be wrongful termination, and i've bitch slapped my previous employer with it.

Even if the county that the store operated in DIDN'T have a state of emergency declared, if the county that the employee resides in declared one, they're off scott free. Enjoy your day off.

neckromacr New Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 1:56 p.m.

Considering my commute they've been pretty understanding, but the asinine nature of the corporation is getting to me. From expecting huge sales during a blizzard to blaming us for not making said sales happen.

But from a legal stand point I was sure there was a way they skirt around these SoE issues. Such as stating its the employees responsibility to get to work, the corp. didn't make them drive their car to get there. And of course even if you make a stand and refuse to come in I'm sure they can start nitpicking you to find reasons to fire you aside from your refusal to leave the house during a SoE.

Now would it still be wrongful term if this were in a "Work at Will" State. I think then the answer would be even more unfortunate.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 2:02 p.m.

They CAN find other nitpicking items to fire over, but they specifically CANNOT use failure to appear to work that day as an example in any way on the "firing report" or whatever they use.

914Driver SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 2:14 p.m.

Time to polish up that Resume', you work for idiots.

Dan

foxtrapper SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 2:16 p.m.

Good luck with that. My place of worked is closed, I'm not allowed to drive on the roads, and I am expected to take paid leave for it if I do not report to work.

DILYSI Dave SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 2:18 p.m.

AFAIK, a declaration of a state of emergency is nothing other than the governor going to the feds to ask for money. It isn't a curfew. It isn't an evacuation. It doesn't require you to stay at home. It is completely irrelevant to the conversation IMO.

Still sounds like you're working for idiots.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 2:19 p.m.

I think we're talking about the kind where the local government tells everyone to stay off the roads...

Rumnhammer Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 2:38 p.m.

Right now in MD, they have declared a stage 3 snow emergency, which means if you are not a emergency worker, you will get a ticket if you are driving on the roads.

autoxrs New Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 2:44 p.m.

When they declared state of emergency here the wording indicated employees who were essential to the functioning of their unit or required for weather related services were expected to report to work. But, employers were asked to be considerate for employees who couldn't show up.

Since you are employed by a private company, "state of emergency" really doesn't apply to you. That said, your employer should have been more considerate.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 3:06 p.m.

in Ohio, there are levels of emergency -

Level 1 just advises you stay home if possible, and makes parking on public roads a fineable offense (since theyre gonna plow).

Level 2 - basically just harsher warning not to venture out, theres some wording that makes it appear that only 4 wheel drive vehicles are alllowed on public roads, but its not actually limiting anyones driving priveleges...basically just a tool to try to keep people off roads and out of ditches

Level 3 - its actually illegal to be out on public roads unless youre on your way home from wherever you were when the level 3 warning was issued, or youre out on a true emergency - medical etc.

If a level 3 is issued for the county my employer operates in, or in the county I reside in, I can take off, unpaid if I choose, or I can take vacation time. If theres no level 3, but I still feel its unsafe to come to work, I can take off, but I have to take vacation time, basically making unpaid time off not an option.

That gets real hairy when we have a bad-ish snowstorm in late December - if your out of time, your out of luck, gotta come in. It would be really interesting to see how a suit would go down for someone claiming damages from a snow related auto incident because they were forced to come out in the snow because they didnt have any time off left.

neckromacr New Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 3:10 p.m.
914Driver wrote: Time to polish up that Resume', you work for idiots. Dan

I've been doing that for awhile prior. This just put the Stupid Icing on the Idiot Cake.

I just found a really bad time to realize I work for a common senseless corporation.

Datsun1500 Dork
Feb. 10, 2010 3:10 p.m.
Rumnhammer wrote: Right now in MD, they have declared a stage 3 snow emergency, which means if you are not a emergency worker, you will get a ticket if you are driving on the roads.

unless you are transporting hospital workers. I love the smart ass look the cop gets when he stops you and you explain that you have a truck full of doctors that need to get to the hospital, they suddenly get real friendly....

Feb. 10, 2010 3:17 p.m.
Rumnhammer wrote: Right now in MD, they have declared a stage 3 snow emergency, which means if you are not a emergency worker, you will get a ticket if you are driving on the roads.

Cruisers have a really hard time catching a snomobile and the choppers ain't flying. YeeeHAAAA!!!

mad_machine SuperDork
Feb. 10, 2010 4:23 p.m.

when I worked in radio I had both a State issued press pass and an essential employee card. It was fun to get stopped by the cops on the way to work, show them my credentials, and be happily on my way.

Once I got stopped 30 miles from the station. Told the nice state trooper I was out picking up somebody for the station... it was great, the storm was over, the roads were groomed, but not plowed to the tarmac.. it was 30 miles of tail out snow drifting there.. and 30 miles back.

Toyman01 Dork
Feb. 10, 2010 4:52 p.m.

Taco Bell ran into a problem where they forced a manager to work under adverse conditions(90+ hours a week). He fell asleep on the way to work one morning and crashed. Major injures, out for months. He sued Taco Bell and won millions. They were held culpable for forcing him to work those hours under threat of termination. I'm thinking something similar would apply in your situation. Maybe they didn't force you to drive, but they implied that you could be fired if you didn't.

Appleseed Dork
Feb. 10, 2010 6:04 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
Rumnhammer wrote: Right now in MD, they have declared a stage 3 snow emergency, which means if you are not a emergency worker, you will get a ticket if you are driving on the roads.

Cruisers have a really hard time catching a snomobile and the choppers ain't flying. YeeeHAAAA!!!

Time to start knocking over banks. YeeeHaaa/money beoitch!

stroker Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 6:36 p.m.

Two things: I'd think they'd have to fire EVERYBODY for failing to show up for work. Second, if they're not firing "critical" people (ER docs, Police) for failing to appear it's pretty hard to make a case for justified termination of retail sales people I'd think...

neckromacr New Reader
Feb. 10, 2010 8:26 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: Taco Bell ran into a problem where they forced a manager to work under adverse conditions(90+ hours a week). He fell asleep on the way to work one morning and crashed. Major injures, out for months. He sued Taco Bell and won millions. They were held culpable for forcing him to work those hours under threat of termination. I'm thinking something similar would apply in your situation. Maybe they didn't force you to drive, but they implied that you could be fired if you didn't.

Funny, I had a similar thing happen. I had a thread up asking about the legal standpoint on rest between shifts, I was pretty much told "Only if you're a trucker" and "Suck it up, be happy you have a damn job" so I left it alone.

My commutes on the best of days is an hour, and the store doesn't close till 9 or later, and I need to be up at 4 to open the store on time, and swing shifts from day to day are the norm. Do the math and you can figure out why I was asking.

The kicker was one week where I had several open to close shifts sprung on me out of the blue, pushing my 50 hour week to 70. By the end there I was so exhausted my body would not allow me to wake up and the store opened an hour late. Sure enough the shiny happy boss told me if I can't open on time maybe I really don't want my job.

One one of my trips home during that period, I had a vision of a man wrestling a bear greco-roman style on the road in front of me. I guess the moral of the story is that I should have swerved to avoid them and wrapped myself around the nearest telephone pole.

Wally SuperDork
Feb. 11, 2010 1:24 a.m.

The law says suck it up, doesn't mean a jury will see it the same way.

Mental SuperDork
Feb. 11, 2010 10:48 p.m.

At will employment state or no, there are laws.

Refusing to report to work legally isn't firable until 72 hours. Then its called abandonment. Snow or not. Now the reality is peaple call in and quit all the time. But it's not how you are supposed to do it.

I assure you, your manager has had maybe a booklet presented to him regarding human resources and labor laws. But he is not trained.

Opening the store an hour late is not a fireable offense. It is a documentable offense and several of them gets you fired.

Unfortunetly, your commute is your problem, but if you were fired for failing to perform on a 70 hour work week, you are entitled to unemployment, and your company gets to pay it.

If your manager just decides they don;t like you attitude and fire you, unemployment. Firing someone is a long process and most employees don;t realize it. Even in an "at will" employment state, they have to follow the rules. I would almost bet the spiteful manager who pulls crap like this doesn;t bother to document anything. So you simply call the umemployment office, tell them you were fired without cause. The company will balk and say "He opened the store an hour late and his attitude sucks." Employment office will say "Oh, well I presume you documented these incidents and can produce proof of these transgressions and that he was couseled." Employer goes "...uhhhh." Employee collects paycheck as well as backpay for the two weeks that this went on.

Obviously this is not a discussion to have with your manager, its something to keep in your back pocket when he decides to be a tool and fire you.

If he does, don;t sign a damm thing. They will try to get you to sign an agreement that you quit in order to collect your last check. That is also illegal. Demand your check be mailed to you, and if they fail to do so, call the HR office at the headquarters and mentioned lawsuit (You can't sue them for this, but the thought scares HR types).

The joy is, his job will now be in extreme jepordary for failing to follow compnay HR proceedures. You better believe HR will be documenting it and if he gets fired, it will be done right.

Duke SuperDork
Feb. 12, 2010 9:10 a.m.
DILYSI Dave wrote: AFAIK, a declaration of a state of emergency is nothing other than the governor going to the feds to ask for money. It isn't a curfew. It isn't an evacuation. It doesn't require you to stay at home. It is completely irrelevant to the conversation IMO. Still sounds like you're working for idiots.

In Delaware it is. Non-essential citizens are expected to stay off the roads to leave them clear for emergency vehicles and snow removal. Of course there is some weaseling allowed in determining what is "essential", but the expectation is that unless things will die if you are not at work, you should stay home.

Grtechguy SuperDork
Feb. 12, 2010 10:03 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: in Ohio, there are levels of emergency -

In Michigan, we just go to work. So what if there's 18" of lake effect snow.

mrwillie Reader
Feb. 13, 2010 2:17 p.m.

I think you work for the same place I used to some years ago. Never happier to leave...

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